January Reads Round Up

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Here is a round up of my January reads with links to the full reviews:

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier

15878976_1393063644078382_1049832502_nFull Review: Jamaica Inn.

I gave this book 5/5. A masterfully thought out macabre tale set in the stark landscape of the Cornish moors. Well constructed plot twists, and a believable cast of characters. Du Maurier’s prose ensnares from the first page, and I finished this book in two days. A great read to kick off 2017.

 

Touch: (A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan

15970433_1398295036888576_299992794_nFull Review: Touch.

I gave this book 4/5. My first attempt at reading a play and a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A fantastic concept that I would love to see developed into a novel. Characters and motives are believable despite the length of the act, and YA dystopian fans will love this read.

 

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

15134323_1338992029485544_897708356_nFull Review: The Name of the Wind.

I gave this book 4.5/5. Fabulous world building and effortless character construction. Slightly slow start, hence my 4.5/5*, but once you get into the main story, you cannot put the book down. Book two is on my TBR list for 2017!

 

Surviving the Evacuation by Frank Tayell

16244543_1412295095488570_460018345_nFull Review: Surviving the Evacuation.

I gave this book 3.5/5. A slow start, but if you soldier through part #1, the narrative picks up. Bill isn’t exactly courageous, but he is smart and in the know on aspects of the evacuation. The need to see if boring Bill survives drives the reader to the end.

 

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

16358481_1414786001906146_593800593_nFull Review: The Rose Society.

I gave this book 4/5. An action fuelled, fast paced narrative, and well developed characters. This book built on the foundations laid in book one. Adelina is a perfect anti-heroine, and she is letting the darkness win. I can’t wait to discover where Lu takes the narrative in book 3.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Review: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

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The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu 4/5

16358481_1414786001906146_593800593_nOnce upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Review:

I read book one, The Young Elites, in 2015, and thoroughly enjoyed the story. I didn’t have a blog back then, so I never reviewed the book, but I rate it 3.5/5. When I saw book two in the library, I shimmied it up my TBR list. I fully remembered the story in book one, and that ending! So, rather than re-read, I tucked into book two straight away.

What a step up. I rate this book higher than book one, and because the groundwork was laid in The Young Elites, this book just built and built upon it. Adelina’s dark side is well and truly thriving, and she makes for a brilliant anti-heroine. (And we all know how much I love a well written anti-hero). Not to mention, something that tore at my heart in the last book, kind of, sort of, gets rectified. It was not how I would have liked, but it happened and my heart healed a little.

…Don’t let that fool you, though. Later on in the narrative, my heart was well and truly smashed once more.

What an ending yet again. The character development over the course of the two books is on point, and it’s hard to see where the narrative will take us in book three, but I’m excited for the adventure. Adelina’s dark side seems to have won, and she isn’t fighting it.

On a final note, I love Magiano. His character is eccentric, but subtly woven. I want to see big things from him in book three.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Review: Surviving the Evacuation- London by Frank Tayell

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Surviving the Evacuation: London by Frank Tayell 3.5/5

16244543_1412295095488570_460018345_n.jpgThe outbreak started in New York. Within days the infection had spread to every corner of the world. Nowhere is safe from the undead…

Bill watched from his window as London was evacuated. His leg broken, he is unable to join the exodus. Turning to his friends in the government, he waits and hopes for rescue. As the days turn into weeks, realising inaction will lead only to starvation and death, his thoughts turn to escape.

Forced to leave the safety of his home he ventures out into the undead wasteland that once was England, where he will discover a horrific secret.

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon Kindle.

Review:

Bill is an advisor to his MP friend, Jennifer. A broken leg has him confined to his apartment during a zombie infection outbreak. Jen promised to get him to safety, but the car that was sent was attacked and the driver was killed. Bill’s story is built upon the journals of his confinement from just before the London evacuation to about 3 months after.

The first part of the book is pretty much Bill moaning, moping, and waiting to be rescued. His poor survival skills and the insights into how he passes the time were building blocks to show his mind set and how it changes with the realisation that he is well and truly left to his own devices. He isn’t a man who takes well to manual work, and you quickly learn that he isn’t courageous, but he is intelligent and knows a lot about the evacuation, the early days of the outbreak, and what has/ may have gone wrong during the evacuation and containment.

Persevere through the first part, and I promise, the book picks up.

The author has thought out different government tactics during such an incident, and I found it all extremely fascinating. I cannot fault the detail woven into the evacuation plans and the realism this creates.

There is something different about this book, and it’s hard to put my finger on. Considering that I didn’t really like Bill and the narrative isn’t action based, I found myself turning the pages and wanting to know the conclusion. Whether it was the realism, his intellect, or the need to see if boring Bill toughened up and survived, I am hopeful for the next books in the series.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

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“Do you hear that?” Reggie pushes his ear to the side of the large drum. “Music…”

Pushing my own ear against the damp metal, the quiet but definite sounds of music emit from within. There is also a voice; a soft hum of a voice singing along. “Someone lives here,” I whisper. With that, the music vanishes and is replaced with an eerie silence.

“How? It’s an old vat or…wasn’t this a sewage works? I bet it was some kind of filtering system. God,the stuff that was probably stored in there.” Reggie makes a vomit noise in his throat.

A twig snaps from the treeline, then another. The Trackers are close. Reggie’s face betrays his fear. “If they find us they’ll drain us,” he says, the words sailing out on a shaky breath.

A panel bursts opens between us. A greying man with a wispy, white beard, crouches through the hole. “Get in here!” he shouts. “Hurry, before they see you.”

We have little choice. Reggie climbs in first, taking my hand and pulling me through. The man brushes at the dirt with an old rag, destroying our tracks, and then he pulls the panel back into place and secures it. Placing a finger to his lips, we sit in silence, listening to the Trackers scouting right outside.

After a few long minutes, we hear them move further into the woodland. “How did you know we were safe?” Reggie asks the man. “We could have been Trackers?”

“You were worried about being drained,” he says, tapping his ear. “If you still have your own, human blood in you, then your fine by me. Besides, it was worth the risk. I haven’t spoken to another living soul in two years. You don’t get many visitors when you live in a shit tank.”


Content belongs to K.J. Chapman

 

Review: The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

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The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle #1) 4.5/5

15134323_1338992029485544_897708356_n.jpgTold in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Review:

Kvothe is legendary. His name is both praised and feared. Now, living the quiet life as an inn keeper, Kvothe finally tells his own story to the Chronicler. He details his life growing up with the Troupe, the heartbreaking loss of his family, his life on the streets, and then his time at the University; a school of magic.

Rothfuss is a fine story teller; vivid descriptions, subtle dialogue, and masterful world building. There is not a sound you can’t hear, a sight you can’t see, or a taste you can’t taste. The writing drags you into Kvothe’s life as a Troupe boy, a street urchin, and a young magic scholar in search of answers about his family’s slaughter. There is a poetic beauty to the prose that seems to spill effortlessly from Rothfuss’ hand.

The characters have a quiet realism. It’s the only way I can describe it. There is a subtle, dignity in how Rothfuss creates believable, relatable characters. You don’t even realise how gently these characters seep into the whole reading experience, yet the character development over the course of the story is well executed.

The first 100 or so pages were a little slow going, and you need to plow through them to get a full taste of the true story, and I am so glad that I did. I highly recommend this book, and I am thankful to have received book two, A Wise Man’s Fear as a Christmas gift.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

 

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Thrown To The Blue. My review

A huge thanks goes out to Phil Price for his review of Thrown to The Blue. It has made my day. Head on over to check out Phil’s blog and click that little follow button…

Author Phil Price

I started this book last year. However, Christmas and life got in the way for a few weeks. This is my first book review of 2017. And what a way to kick start the year.

Review:

I’d previously read another of the author’s books, curious to see how she would switch genres. I was amazed. KJ Chapman has created a fantasy world on a par with Game of Thrones, intricately detailed. The main protagonists , Ezra and Reed are thrown together by murder and betrayal. Reed is a great character. The shadowy archer who saves Ezra, only to fall for her.

The story moves along easily, moving from land to land. Covens and murky sects litter their pathway, leaving the reader wondering who to trust.
The detail at which the story unfolds is staggering. It’s not just the characters that are described, Chapman has created legends and history from her…

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Update 13/1/17

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I haven’t posted an EVO Ghost update on my blog in what feels like ages. I have hinted at some struggles on Twitter and in my Muse-ic post, and now, I thought I’d let everyone know how I’m getting on.

Word Count:

After Christmas, I started on EVO Ghost with 24k words written. I hadn’t touched the manuscript for a while because I was focussing on Thrown to The Blue, but going back knowing that I already had 24k words was a motivator. That motivation didn’t last long. I couldn’t move passed a particular point in my story, and for days, I procrastinated. Eventually, I decided to cut 10k words, taking me back to where I knew I was last inspired. I took the narrative in a completely different direction and the words flowed much smoother. I’m now at 27k words and going strong, so that’s 13k written since Christmas. The bonus is that some of the cut stuff will make it into the narrative a bit further down the line.

‘Third Book in the Trilogy’ Syndrome:

Half of my word count issues stemmed from self-doubt. Rather than let my story flow and pay it little heed until the redraft, I stressed myself out with worry over loose ends, tying up character arcs, making the third book epic etc. I dubbed this self-doubt, ‘Third Book in the Trilogy Syndrome’. I know this book has to close the story, and I want to do right by my characters, but dwelling on it wasn’t helping. Getting back to my usual ‘seat of my pants’ drafting style has helped me progress the narrative.

Where I am at now:

I am neck deep in drafting, researching, and note taking. A brilliant idea popped into my head that wouldn’t leave me alone. When I finally wrote it into the narrative, the whole story shifted up a notch, and a huge plot hole filled itself. Phew. I also may have, kinda have, sorta have an ending idea. I say this very gingerly because my ending ideas usually change as the narrative moves along. Teddie will tell me how this ends, but I’m hoping this idea has been sparked by some hidden message in the narrative so far. That happens to me, you know. I only realise why I typed something when that something becomes important further down the story arc. Strange, but amazing, right?

Excerpt:

This excerpt is only small because it is very hard to find interesting paragraphs without spoilers, especially for those who may not have read books one and two.

I push at my temples, scrunching my nose against the tension forming in my head. “You were doing what you thought was best,” I say, more to myself than him. “Still, you should have told me from the first.”

His mouth opens and closes like a fish. “I thought you’d be—”

“A bitch about it. You saved my life. I won’t forget that easily, just don’t keep things from me. I have… trust issues.” I smile and tap at the stapled scar on my scalp.

“Sorry, I’m just used to my family being hard-headed and petulant.”

“Oh, I can be both of those. I just have perspective now.”

How do you overcome self-doubt? Have you written a trilogy, and how did you find the experience?


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

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Review: Touch (A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan

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Touch ( A One-Act Play) by Briana Morgan 4/5

15970433_1398295036888576_299992794_nThe Seeker has grown up in a world where deliberate physical contact is a crime, and for most of her life, it hasn’t bothered her. But when some of her classmates are arrested for touching, she decides to try the most forbidden of things and touch another person. When she discovers the power of touching, and how it changes her and those around her, will the Seeker be content to return to a life without it?

I downloaded this book for free during an Amazon promotion.

Review:

Touch is a criminal offence. Not even parents can hug their children. The Seeker needs contact, she needs to know what another’s touch feels like, so she goes looking for it. Touch changes the Seeker’s life, and that of those around her.

Have I read a play before? No. Was I worried that I wouldn’t like the medium? Yes. Were my worries unwarranted? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this one-act play, and the enthralling concept. The idea of touch being illegal gripped me from page one.

The characters were relatable and that is quite a feat for such a short play. I would love to see this concept in novel form. There is plenty of scope to do just that. The author touched on background history that made the Seeker’s need for touch, and defiance of the law, more believable. Although fast, the narrative doesn’t let up until the last page, and as a reader you find yourself with a new found respect for touch. Lovers of YA dystopia would love this play.

A thought provoking concept that can be read in one sitting.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Picture Prompt

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Here is another of my Instagram picture prompts for you to get creative with. I invite you to have a go at writing a sentence/paragraph/short story to accompany the picture. Remember to link your post back to me, so I can read your creations.

You can find me on Instagram by following this link.

Picture Prompt:

k-j-chapman4

Two hundred and eight days of solitude. Two hundred and eight days of my own company; nothing but an internal monologue to get me through each day. I can’t be the only one left. Seven billion people on the planet have all just poofed into non-existence. I’ve decided that today shall be my last. As the cliffs loom in the distance, and it dawns on me that I have walked the length of the country, I prepare myself to take my final dive.

Removing my shoes, I take a last stroll along the waters edge. The sand is soft and warm under foot; a sharp contrast to the hard, cold reality I face. It takes all my strength to turn away from the rolling waves, but the time has come to put myself out of this misery. Making my way back to the coastal path, something catches my eye a little further down the beach. The closer I get, the more my heart races. A stone sculpture stands proudly from the sand. The sea-weathered stones are postioned with a beautiful artistry. Dropping to my knees, I wipe away the sand drift from the boulder at the base of the sculpture and press my forehead into the sand as tears shudder from my body. The rock is inscribed with a message- the best message I have ever read.

“I search for survivors every Thursday. Do not leave this point. Look out for my yacht. Hang in there, you lucky sons of bitches.”


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Muse-ic for EVO Ghost

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These past few weeks have been a rollercoaster of drafting emotions in regards to EVO Ghost. First, I was moseying along, quite content, then I hit a wall. That wall saw me change a time jump, totally deconstruct the middle of my draft, and then cut just over 10k words. Needless to say, I have been having a panic unlike I have had with any other of my books. I think I have pinned down why… I have ‘third book in the trilogy’ syndrome, or so I am calling it. I am so worried about this book living up to the first two, and that Teddie gets the ending she deserves, that I’m freaking out a little over here. Loose ends need to be tied, my characters haven’t finished growing, and they’re all looking to me to do them proud. I’m rambling now- deep breaths.

I think this book will continue to keep me on my toes, but I have found the best way to deal with my self-doubt is to write through it- write through it and draw inspiration from music. That is exactly what this song is about. In my eyes, this is Teddie’s song for book three.

Human by Rag’n’Bone Man

The following lyrics are so true of where I am at in the EVO narrative, and where Teddie’s head is at:

Take a look in the mirror
And what do you see
Do you see it clearer
Or are you deceived
In what you believe
‘Cause I’m only human after all
You’re only human after all
Don’t put the blame on me
Don’t put your blame on me


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

Music video sourced from Youtube.com

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